He opened the door to his room, grabbed his laptop, and sat on the bed. “Sit beside me, Harmony. This is how we communicate when we don’t want every wolf in the building to hear our business.”
I stepped behind the bed so I could see, too, as he woke the screen, opened a word processing program, and typed, “I vow to you we will never subject you to that. No one will ever lay a hand on you in anger or consequences. I can’t imagine you being stupid, but if you are, and we have to levy consequences, they’ll come in the form of a fine or banishment. I never want to smell that kind of terror in my clubhouse again. If Ivankov were alive, I’d kill him all over again.”
I spoke up, worried Harmony would take his words the wrong way. “She can’t help how she smells, Duke. Something hits her the wrong way, that’s what we get.”
“Yeah, and I get that, so she needs to leave the room before someone’s spanked, and she needs to remember,” he stopped talking and typed, “it’ll never happen to you. Not while I’m president and Brain’s VP.”
We’d been moved into our new house six weeks now, and I couldn’t imagine life could get any better.
I’d done several white hat jobs for Aaron, and in return he’d bought me four horses. The dummy corporation that owned the farm had bought three, and I had room for another five before I’d need to expand the existing facilities, which meant I’d soon advertise to board horses for more income.
I already had five riding lesson students, some once a week, most twice a week, with one at five days a week. I’d be taking her to a competition in a few weeks, and I looked forward to getting the Hidden Springs Ranch name out there.
I was about to ‘hire’ Harmony Johnson as the caretaker and head cook. She’d live here rent free, plus get a small salary — enough for her car payment, and to begin paying down on her credit cards.
Meanwhile, the original Harmony had died two weeks ago. I’d arranged for a nurse to take care of her until her final breath, and then arranged for her cremation, and had spread her ashes in the Tennessee River on a beautiful, windy day.
It’d taken some work to acclimate the horses to Brain — they’d smelled wolf and freaked at first, but he’d been as patient with them as he’d been with me, and now they adored him.
I’d even ridden alongside him, my horse running side-by-side with the wolf, for a short time during the last full moon. Every day with Brain was sheer magic, but some days had more fairy dust than others, and I’d remember that night for the rest of my life. We might repeat it a hundred times, but the first time would always stick in my head.
I’ve been held captive twice in my life. I killed my first captor, and I’m living with the second. Funny how life works out, sometimes.
I fed and watered the horses, made sure they had everything they needed for the night, and went in the house to take a shower. Tonight, I was meeting Gen, Bethany, and Pebbles at the RTMC’s bar for a drunken night of partying. I’d been welcomed into Brain’s MC family with no question, and after living on my own for so long, it was surprisingly easy to get used to having a support system, again.
* * * *
I watched Harmony from the catwalk as she sat beside Gen, and chatted and joked with the other women. Duke was across the street taking a shower to wash other people’s blood off. I’d managed to take my people down without getting messy, so I had time to sit and watch my Buttercup.
She never ceased to amaze me, the way she took on new experiences as if she was an old hand.
And watching her with the horses these past weeks had made me fall even more in love with her. They’d brought a part of her to the surface I’d only seen glimpses of, before. She smiled and laughed, more. She was full of joy, full of life.
Full of sunshine.
She was truly my Buttercup now, come to life under the rays of the sun.
Duke texted me he was on his way across the street, and I met him at the front door so we could walk in, together.
It’d been a long day, but the highlight happened when she turned as I neared, and her eyes lit up with joy at seeing me.
No matter how long we lived, that would never get old.